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As soon as they pierced the mesosphere, the electric charge rose at the base of her skull, a familiar buzzing in her teeth.
She could feel him down below, waiting.
“Rey, we have intel they’re hiding in the old temple outside of the Capitol. The First Order fleet is only minutes out.” Poe’s voice was urgent through the comms, frayed by the distance.
“We’re going to get there first,” she said, banking the Falcon sharply. “Keep them busy!”
Chewie growled and set the coordinates. She looked down at the swirling green planet beneath her, Kiros. Once a settlement of colonists seeking peace and refuge, now it was in decline. The rich and vibrant world thrummed with the Force, amplifying both her powers and the bond as it snapped to life, twisting through the starry void.
Rey raised her mental shields as they broke through the clouds, before she could feel the dark fury rip out of him like a scream.
He was close. The Force’s fingers dug deep in her chest, cinching the air from her lungs.
She knew he could feel it, too.
In the months since Crait, they’ve run to and away from one another.
When word leaked that the First Order was collecting Force sensitives like trophies, the Resistance mobilized to stop them. Rey raced across the galaxy on rescue missions and to recruit students for her fledgling academy. Supreme Leader Kylo Ren was always at her heels as the First Order struggled to maintain control over a chaotic galaxy.
What do you call a game of chase when both people are the hunters?
When deep down, both want to get caught?
The Force finally brought them together again, face to face, on Akiva.
He stepped out of the mouth of a cave just as she approached, both alone.
Kylo Ren stopped, wordless and unmasked. He was thinner, taller somehow, imposing as ever. The scar on his cheek had faded to a thin line, like the memory of a tear. His bottomless dark eyes glinted as he stared down at her, more feral and wounded than the Supreme Leader had any right to be.
Rey was different now, too. Her grey robes were worn in memory of Luke, her hair in honor of General Organa, a walking monument to those she lost.
The three buns of her youth were long dead and buried, just like her parents and the childish hopes he disabused her of in the throne room. The brutal truth was his parting gift, and she set her jaw to show him she had received it.
The bitter taste in her mouth held her tongue as she narrowed her eyes. She was surprised to discover she still could not hate him, even after everything. She clutched her saber in her fists and ignited it.
His face glowed red as his distempered blade spit to life, his lips pressed tight as he widened his stance, jaw working.
Neither moved to strike first.
As the moments ticked by, she watched the anger bleed out of his eyes, replaced by something deeper. Recrimination hollowed out by longing, a feeling leaking out through the bond. Regret.
When the squadron of TIE fighters flew overhead and the Resistance troops crested the hill behind her, Rey broke and ran, turning her back on the pleading eyes of the heir of Han Solo.
One word echoed in her mind as she slipped away from him, again.
The bond took root inside each of them, thick and vital, imbedding deeper each day. There was no escaping it, the power required to break it would certainly be enough to destroy them both.
So they felt it all now.
Her dreams are vivid and detailed, the demarcation between sleep and bond blurred.
If it wasn’t real, could it be wrong?
Did it matter what was real and what wasn’t, since he felt it all, anyway?
In her bunk at night, his scent would invade her senses first, warm and spicy. She kept her eyes closed while nudging closer to his heat, as if not seeing him made it any less real, any less dangerous.
His bare skin pressed to hers across the light years as her hands smoothed over his scars. She traced the mountains of his chest and arms as if blind, while he reached to her ass to pull her in closer with trembling hands.
Hands touched places never opened for another. She gasped into his neck, her body begging as she rubbed against him, firm in all the places she was soft.
She shook in his arms as his fingers and mouth revealed the brutal truth to her, always the truth, just as his words had done in the throne room. She opened to him and received it, in the dark.
Only after her breath slowed and their pulses beat in time, did she dare open her eyes and gaze at him.
It wasn’t the cruel eyes of Kylo Ren that stared back at her.
She knew it was time.
Chewie howled as they landed the Falcon outside the gates of the temple on Kiros. They found the group of settlers, twenty-odd and mostly children, huddled inside the crumbling walls.
Rey shuttled them aboard and then turned sharply at the first stab of his presence. He was just across the courtyard, unmasked, watching.
“Go, get them away, then come back for me!” she yelled, ignoring Chewie’s pained cry. She slammed the bay door closed and jumped down away from the stairs as the Falcon rose without her.
Her shields wavered as Rey stared at him, before they dropped entirely. Now he’d focus on her alone, a lure and a prize.
The hot blast of his need hit her like a bowcaster bolt and she staggered back, dizzy. She struggled to regain control through the litany of mine, mine that flooded her mind, shaking her head to clear it.
She would finish their game, for good. Kylo Ren would not leave this planet.
Leaving her saber attached to her belt, she turned and ran.
Rey’s heartbeat thundered as she flew through the twisting alleys and tunnels illuminated only by candlelight and stars. She heard his foot falls behind her, his pulse thrumming in her own neck, as he narrowed her lead.
She led him deeper and deeper into the Capitol, glancing over her shoulder, catching a flash of black or the whisper of a tunic. He was closing in fast.
Rounding a corner, a momentary indecision of where to turn was all it took for him to snag an arm around her waist. Another gloved hand wrapped around her throat as he lifted her up and against his chest.
“Always running, little Jedi?” he panted hot in her ear, the leather creaking under her jaw.
She froze, lips parting with her hitched breath. His thumb swiped down her cheek, wiping away a drop of sweat, and she squirmed in his arms until his fingers dug in deeper.
“I finally have you,” he said, equal parts smug and awestruck.
A few steps forward to the wall, and she had to throw out her palms to brace herself on the cold stone. His firm heat behind her shifted, his thighs pushing into the back of hers as he held her tight. She took a side step for balance, and he took advantage, slipping a firm thigh between her legs to wedge them open.
“You like to run,” he whispered as his long nose brushed through her hair, “but maybe you also like to be caught.”
The hot words pricked goosebumps on her neck, her eyelids fluttering as soft lips barely grazed the rim of her ear. Her heart struggled against her ribs like a caged bird, his raging fire leaking through the bond and scorching her own veins.
Lips found her neck and the Force vibrated at the touch of skin on skin. The energy crackled around them and her focus narrowed to just the warmth of his body behind her, his black honey voice, and their points of contact.
“Ah, you do. You can’t hide it from me.” He gloated in triumph.
He lifted her chin with hand, the leather smooth against her skin, as his lips traced along her pulse. A thought pierced through the haze of her mind as he threatened to consume her.
It was Kylo Ren’s voice in her ear. It was not what she wanted.
Rey rocked her hips back, and he sucked air in through his teeth. He groaned as she ground back against him, his shoulders bowing over as she arched her back and pushed away from the wall. The hand on her throat minutely squeezed, and Rey gasped.
“Maybe I do,” she breathed out, rolling into him. She reached one hand around to grab his hip and hold him tight, repeating the same pull from long ago in the throne room to different ends, and he hissed.
He leaned down and grazed his sharp teeth on her bare shoulder. “You belong to me. You feel it, I know you do.”
Allowing her eyes to drift closed, Rey let go of any resistance and submitted to his touch. He nearly cried out in victory at her acceptance and released his hold to slap hands on the wall above her. He dove forward to kiss the back of her neck and flex his hips forward.
She reached out to the Force, opening herself up. Power surged through her as she tapped into their joint energies and the bond snapped into place fully with finality.
Rey’s eyes flew open. She knew what to do.
Quickly twisting in his arms, she planted palms into his wide chest. He blinked down at her, just as he did in the snowy forest under the purple light of their beams balanced against one another. His cold disdain melted away under the weight of his hunger and need.
Gathering the Force like a deep inhale, she turned and threw him back against the wall, pinning him with her power. She was much stronger now, an instrument of the Force, and she dipped into his power to execute its will.
The drowsy lust darkened in his eyes and he seethed as she held him fast.
Arm outstretched, she approached and smiled.
“Now who is caught?”
He bared his teeth and struggled before resigning himself to the trap. She reached out her other hand and drew his saber to her palm. He leaned his head back against the wall and studied her, the fight draining away all at once, the dark embers of his eyes cooling.
“So this is how it ends. Fitting that it’s you.” He smiled wryly, unable to hide the sadness in his eyes. “It’s always been you.”
Instead of igniting his saber, she threw it away and unhooked hers and tossed it, as well. He eyed her curiously as she strode forward.
“You’re right. This is how it ends for Kylo Ren.”
While holding him with her power, Rey lifted her fingers and carefully unhooked the neck of his tunic. Surprise flickered across his face as he watched her, eyes tracking between hers.
“You know we can’t hide anything from one another,” she said.
Her deft fingers pulled down the collar, slowly revealing his heaving chest, black suspenders strapped over a tank, and the muscles she mapped out in her dreams.
“I can’t hide how you make me feel.” She looked up at him from under her lashes. “And you can’t hide how badly you want this.”
She cupped his cheek to angle his mouth down to hers and reached up on tiptoes to kiss just under his jaw. A hand pushed into his chest as she sucked on his flushed, salty skin, nipping it between her teeth.
When she stepped back to see the mark she made, his hands flexed and fisted where she had him pinned on the wall.
She met his burnt-ember eyes. “You made me a proposal once. A poor one, to be sure, but you asked me to join you.”
He curled his lip in a sneer. “And you denied me.”
“I denied joining Kylo Ren in ruling the galaxy.” Her voice was sharp. “Because he’s not who I wanted.”
Her hands tracked lower, fingers raking down his ribs until they curled around the hem of his pants. She opened the gates of the bond wide, feeding off his strength to fuel her own, his darkness threading through her light in a swirl of grey.
She leaned in and whispered at his mouth. “I wanted Ben Solo.” She slowly unzipped his pants and slid in a single hand to cup and hold his hot length. “I still do.”
Then she kissed him, possessive and firm, in her own proposal.
The bond sizzled as she pressed her body against his, one hand stroking as the other held his cheek. The power of their connection whipped like a tempest through the room, setting them both to burn.
The desperate need for oxygen couldn’t be ignored. When she pulled back, his lips chased after hers, a growl escaping his throat. Near drunk on her power over him, she squeezed his thick cock in her palm and pressed her chest against his as she watched him squirm and fight against her hold.
“Come with me, Ben. Leave all this behind.”
He moved with her hand as best he could, trapped against the wall. “To be your prisoner,” he gritted out.
“No, no lies. You know what I want.” She stared at him, meeting his intensity.
He exhaled. “Then as your slave.”
She kissed him again, then looked at him with a knowing smile. “You already are, aren’t you?”
He slowly nodded.
She nodded back as she stroked him. “And I’m yours.”
Her hands worked his cock, twisting and gripping, until his thighs shook with need. It was intoxicating, the swirl of their powers a drug in her veins.
“No more denying this.” Her eyes demanded he see her. "It is meant to be."
His breath came fast. “Yes. Rey--” he gasped, close.
“Ben, ” she nodded back, his pleasure curling inside of her, darkness leaking through her like a stain.
Her control wavered and he seized the moment, breaking the bond suddenly as he caught her in his arms, lifting until her thighs wrapped around his waist.
They moved and now her back was against the wall, trapped by his weight, her hands clutching his shoulders. He kissed her, rough, just on the side of savagery, as her hands knotted in his hair.
His mouth blazed a trail down the side of her throat. Rey cried out when he ripped down the sleeve of her tunic and took her breast in his mouth. Her thighs clenched around him as he worked his hips, insistent and firm. His leather glove was warm as he squeezed and teased at her breast, drawing it deeper into his mouth. She whimpered.
“Please, ” she moaned, the heat of her core rubbing raw against his cock through her thin leggings. She could feel his pleasure as it bled into her own. He would never be able to deny her this, he never could.
He held her up with his powers as he tore down the fabric between them. Unsheathing himself, he dragged his throbbing length up and down her slit, already wet with want. Her body ached for the connection, howling to be made whole.
His dark eyes held hers as he aligned himself and his thick tip pressed inside. “Rey,” he murmured, then a low growl, “ Mine .” He slid home.
The Force swirled with the fury of a tempest around them, before eerily falling quiet. All sound disappeared in the vacuum as they stood in the eye of the storm. It was only the two of them now, the sound of their breath and the beating of their hearts. Completion.
She moaned and her thumbs brushed his cheekbones as she lifted his face to hers. His eyes were barely open, lips parted as if in supplication. She kissed his cheeks, his lips, wherever she could reach, greedy for it all.
His hands gripped her ass, spreading her wide to drive in deeper. She accepted him, selfish in her want. He groaned as he buried himself in her heat and she clenched around him.
They moved together, a deep, elemental rhythm, and the Force sang.
The bond snapped taut as they matched thrust for thrust in a shared tempo, their pleasure was one pleasure as they worked as one flesh, building and cresting together. When their peak finally broke, they came with eyes wide open, seeing and feeling it all.
Only after the air returned to their lungs did he set her down on her feet, foreheads lightly touching. He turned away, and she felt the pang and reluctance in her own chest as his hands dropped from her body.
The bond was crystalline and sparkling now in the sharp relief of the afterglow.
“Come with me,” she said, pulling up fabric and putting herself back together, already answering the unspoken question she felt in his mind.
“I can’t, not yet."
"He’ll kill them all.”
His head hung as he buttoned his tunic. She felt the turmoil inside, tearing at him.
A flash in her mind, his memory of a small army in black. She recognized the Knights of Ren and saw the Force sensitives he had collected, standing together.
She took a sharp inhale at the instant realization. He was training them, not destroying them. Teaching them to use the Force in equal balance between dark and light, an army of grey with one intent.
He turned to face her, hands fisting at his sides, as his shoulders rolled back and he stood tall, resuming his role as the fearsome Supreme Leader of the First Order.
Although his eyes told her the truth, as they always did. Kylo Ren was gone forever.
“After it’s split to pieces and Hux is dead.”
Loss bloomed in her stomach, her hands already greedy to touch him again. She nodded and let him feel it, too.
He already knew, she didn’t need to say the words.
She said them anyway.
“I’ll be waiting.”
As she turned her back and walked away from him and out of the city walls, she felt his answer echo in her bones.